Seigneur Hedge Veg are a band whose name I’ve heard in vague mentions for a little while but had never heard anything from until, a few weeks ago, their leader appeared during an event at The Golden Lion and put a copy of their debut CD, Eggs & Honeycomb, in my hand.
Comprised of Dave Herschel (guitar, vocals and chief songwriter), formerly of Clameur De Haro, Andy Mason (harmonica) of seemingly any blues or country act in need of a harmonica player, and Derek Beatty (mandolin), as far as I know new to the live scene, they have crafted a record that comes from the same DIY, ‘hedge veg’, Guernsey folk and country scene that in the past brought us The John Wesley Stone, The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers and The Coalbox Generals (amongst others).
From the off, apparently their theme song Hedge Veg, it’s clear this is going to be an eccentric listen as it drifts from songs about Guernsey peculiarities such as this to attempts at satire, out-and-out comedy songs and what could be called confessional songwriting.
A few stand out in this, for various reasons; Devil’s Tractor is a song based on a story from the local newspaper about an apparently possessed tractor (coincidentally belonging to a friend of mine’s father, but believe me I’m none the wiser), while Hillbilly Princess tells an interesting tale of one man and his less than savoury relationship with his scarecrow.
The Snip is one of the apparently confessional songs that brings the most upbeat stomp along moments of the record but while asking the question if we really need this level of confession in song, and Bereft brings the album’s most genuine and heartfelt feelings.
Unfortunately, while there are some nice ideas across the album in various ways, the songs and themes tend to go on a little too much.
In this they often out stay their welcome and stretch their themes to breaking point making what could be perfectly fine either satirical points or amusing stories either a little too hectoring, bitter or, simply, not funny anymore.
This can most easily be seen on Bare Arms which starts with the ancient but vaguely amusing play on words around the American second amendment’s ‘right to bear arms’ line, but, four and a bit minutes later, ends up doing nothing but poking fun at a topic that really requires more than that if it’s being used as a subject like this.
This all makes Eggs & Honeycomb an album that feels like it’s missed its own point somehow being neither funny enough, heartfelt enough or out-and-out strange enough to really leave a lasting impression.
And then there’s Folsom Sorrow that I can’t quite work out if it’s just a nonsensical mash-up of Soggy Bottom Boys’ Man Of Constant Sorrow and Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues or some kind of psychedelic statement that only makes sense if your mind is operating on some kind of other plane.